By Hilda Austria

DESTROYED. Policemen destroy marijuana plants with an estimated cost of PHP2.2 million in Ilocos Sur on April 13, 2024. The Ilocos Police Regional Office (PRO-1) on Thursday (May 2, 2024), said a total of PHP36.6 million worth of shabu and marijuana were confiscated during the various operations in the region from April 1 to 30, 2024. (Photo courtesy of PDEA Ilocos Region)

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – A total of PHP36.6 million worth of shabu and marijuana were confiscated during the various operations of the Ilocos Police Regional Office (PRO-1) from April 1 to 30, 2024.

In a statement on Thursday, Lt. Col. Benigno Sumawang, deputy chief of PRO-1 Regional Community Affairs Development Division, said they conducted 95 operations leading to the seizure of 84,300 marijuana plants, 2,589.58 grams of dried marijuana leaves and 2,864.37 grams of shabu.

He said 106 suspects were also arrested.

One of the major anti-illegal drugs operations of the regional police office, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, is the eradication of five marijuana plantations in Sitio Tangilig, Barangay Banga, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur on April 12, which yielded 26,700 pieces of fully grown marijuana plants with market value PHP5.3 million.

On April 13, authorities also destroyed 11,200 fully grown marijuana plants with an estimated value of PHP2.2 million at the mountainous area of Barangay Licungan, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur.

Sumawang said they also yielded PHP9.3 million worth marijuana plants in the boundaries of Benguet, Ilocos Sur, and La Union on April 16.

A total of 46,600 fully grown marijuana plants were uprooted and destroyed across the four sites in the boundaries of Barangay Badeo, Kibungan Benguet; Barangay Licungan, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur; and Barangay Tubaday, Santol, La Union covering an estimated land area of 4,000 square meters.

On April 20, separate operations of the police led to the arrest of four suspects in Vigan City and Dagupan City, and resulted in the seizure of 61 grams of shabu worth PHP414,800.

Sumawang said three high value individuals were arrested in a double drug-bust operation in Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur on April 22 that resulted in the confiscation of 102 grams of shabu worth PHP693,600.

Aside from the reduction in the supply of illegal drugs, Sumawang said the police force is also directed to help drug users by encouraging them to undergo a rehabilitation program.

PRO-1 director Brig. Gen. Lou Frias Evangelista, in recent interview, said PRO-1 has revived the checkpoints set-up during the pandemic to further boost drive against illegal drugs.

“We do not have illegal drugs manufacturing here in the region so the supplies are coming from outside that’s why, we need to monitor our borders,” he said. (PNA)